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With a new and unusual lab, Case hopes to become a leader in concrete innovations

You might think we know all there is to know about concrete, the world’s most popular man-made building material, which has been around since the Roman Empire. Not a chance. 

Researchers continue to tinker with the recipe as they envision concrete that can float, bend and even mend its own cracks (thanks to micro-organisms poured into the mix). 

The Case School of Engineering is positioning itself to play a leading role in a new era of concrete research and innovation. With the support of the Case Alumni Association, the school is adding Ohio’s first university-based concrete lab to the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. 

The school broke ground in the fall on a $900,000 lab complex located on the first floor of the Bingham Building, next door to the Structures Lab. The twin labs will help Case train the next generation of building engineers.

“There’s a lot of potential,” said department chair Xiong “Bill” Yu, PhD. “We think we can transform the manufacturing process for concrete.” 

The first phase of the lab, which will include spaces for designing, mixing, curing and testing concrete, is scheduled to open in mid-March. Phase two will add classrooms and other enhancements. The entire new lab space was made possible through several grants and generous alumni support. 

Yu hopes to leverage the lab to form industry partnerships with companies with major concrete operations. 

“Concrete is such an essential material,” he said. “This will be a major facility that will drive our research in an important domain.”

Xiong “Bill” Yu, PhD

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